Handsome Lake, Great Spirit, Vikings discussed on Iroquois History and Legends
Hi guys by name is Noah Tesna and I host a podcast called the history of Vikings. It has been nearly one thousand years. Since the last vikings built settlements carried out raids on the Christian Kingdoms Europe and still they continue to fascinate us from hit. Tv Shows Comic Book Characters and superheroes the Vikings and their gods are still very much a part of our world yes. The legendary stories vibrant myths and rich history of the Vikings can still be seen. Today join me in rediscovering. The lost stories of history's most legendary people on my podcast. The history of Vikings. You can find the podcast on Itunes stitcher. Google play or wherever you listen to your podcasts. I would be delighted if you check out my podcast. The history of Vikings everyone welcomed Iroquois history legends. This is Caleb and this is Andrew and welcome to our next episode. This is the third on our bio series for Seneca Cayuga leadership in the late seventeen. Hundreds and this episode will be on a gentleman known as handsome lake or as he was known as when he was born shaking snow. It's pretty cool. Name too. So shaking snow was born around seventeen. Thirty five in the Seneca town of Common Awad Goose. That sounds familiar. It's because the same town. The corn plant was born in. You know why because they were related because they were brothers you anyway we call it today. On New York. His mother was cojones now. Corn planters. Father was Dutch man. Handsome Lake's father was definitely a native indigenous person. And that means a handsome lake of course is related to all these other folks like. Cossutta governor black snake red jacket half town much of other people that we can't mention right now now in holding a schone culture you might be given one name when you're young and then as you grow up you might get another name to reflect your character. An interesting thing about this is this is not specific to Hodie schone in fact dozens and dozens of world cultures. Have a very similar tradition. Where you might be given a temporary name as a child and then as your character bill you will be given a name to represent the way you act. And that's exactly what happened to shaking snow. When he reached a certain age he was given the name. Gani Odio and in English we translate that as beautiful lake or handsome lake. Canceling sounds nicer. I wonder if was beautiful lake. But they're like people are going to think that I'm a girl what we call him handsome in some of the documents it actually is written beautiful lake. It's a synonym. It means the same thing now. We haven't really talked about handsome lake too much in our previous episodes even though he's been around and may be thinking yourself well. Why is that historian? Henry Morgan wrote in his book. That had some late was actually a sage him for many years but the guy kind of was dolls allies. Can I use the word? Lazy idle is what he says he just really never made any big splashes. He wasn't really involved in leading war parties. He wasn't really known as a huge person like other people that were good at oratory although he was good at were story like else so andrew. You're saying he was a politician that literally just did what he was told by. The people he was representing didn't make any splash. Wow sounds like a great guy. He was present at the Treaty of candidate work because of course he was the Satan he was going to be there and he signed the treaty also known as the pickering treaty but handsome like also had another issue that plagued a lot of people from his time. I mean and we mentioned the alcohol thing. It's not like it was only the Iroquois there were plenty of drunk Dutch people and Drunk Pennsylvanians drunk New Yorkers and drunk. Hey Irish people. There were drunkards everywhere in this time. So it's not like that. We're just talking about stereotype. This was a huge issue across the board. The amazing thing was just the amount of alcohol that people consume back them? I'll give you an example. A sailor would be given like a ROM allowance of sometimes three pints a day. And I don't know how much of you drink hard liquor but if you drink one pint of rum you would probably be on your but for the rest of the day. The difference was a lot of the European people had been drinking a long time and worked up some sort of tolerance to it where they could still get drunk and still have some sort of control of their actions. Meanwhile native Americans who never had developed a real tolerance for alcohol could literally have one drink and it might be the equivalent of somebody else having five drinks and a lot of us know people who still like that today. Make Fun of them and say they can't hold their liquor. Yes but you know I couple friends couple siblings will have one beer and they'll be on the floor giggling and it just happens and so it just became a much bigger problem for the native Americans especially when you had people constantly encouraging so throughout this whole time. Handsome Lake has no particular thing that stands out. He was born in the seventeen thirty. That means just like his brother. He's lived through the French anymore. He's lived through the American revolution. Nobody's taking any note of him but things changed at the end of the eighteenth century because in the year seventeen ninety nine. Handsome Lake is staying on the track of land that his brother corn planter had been given by the state of Pennsylvania on the allegany river and he got sick and he didn't just get sick. Andrew he got sick. He thought he was on his deathbed. And he was in his mid sixties at the time so it would not be uncommon for mid sixty year old guy to get really sick and just die so while he was in this half coma terrible flu or whatever it was he claimed to have had a vision in this vision the great spirit visited him and sent three heavenly spiritual beings to stand by his bedside. They came up to him and they told him to get out of bed and they offered him fruit from different. Berry Bushes that they were holding and after he picked an eighth them he got better completely healed restored to whole health. No longer bedridden. But the visions didn't stop there. Handsome Lake said that the great spirit stayed with him and started telling him about all the evils and sins that were plaguing his people and the other read people's and it was now handsome. Lake's job to preach this good news and tell the people to repent and no longer do these. Things are Andrew. What things that? The great spirit tell him to inform his countrymen that they were doing wrong Number one the fire water and we don't say that to be derogatory. That's literally what they call. Kahal was firewall. And this is the quote that he says from the great spirit. I have a message to deliver to you. The servants of the Great Spirit told me that I should yet live upon the earth to become an instructor to my people since the creation of man the great spirit has often raised men to teach his children what they should do to please him but they have been unfaithful to their trust. I hope I shall profit. By their example. Your Creator has seen that you have transgressed against his laws. He has made man pure and good. He did not intend. He should sin you commit a great sin and taking the fire water. The Great Spirit says that you must abandoned this enticing habit. Your ancestors have brought great misery and suffering upon you they. I took the firewater of the white man. Entailed upon you its consequences. None of them have gone to heaven. The firewater does not belong to you. It was made for the white man beyond the great waters for the White Man. It is a medicine but they too have violated the will of their maker. The Great Spirit. Says that drunkenness is a great crime and he forbids you to indulge in this evil habit. His command is to the old and the young the abandonment of its use will relieve much of your sufferings and greatly increase the comfort and happiness of your children the great spirit is grieved that so much crime and wickedness should defile the earth. They are many evils which he never intended to exist among his red children now. Top of alcohol Andrew. He talked about some other smaller issues that they were having to. You know smaller smaller. Sins things like infanticide abortion a witchcraft. The obsession with goods materialism and basically anything else that would harm the next generation of Seneca and he warned them that if they did not raise their families than there would be no next generation to take over and their culture would literally perish from the Earth. There was actually a certain herb that the women would take to induce a miscarriage and so he called that a witchcraft to cause abortion and so he was saying. I know we're living in a horrible state right now but if we keep killing our children there won't be any Seneca left and we're just making the white people's job easier for them so those issues really. Kinda hit home. He said we need to raise good moral families and on top of schooling people for the moral issues. He also scolded the other leadership for selling off the lands in these preemptive rights. That have happened several years before because a top of scolding the people for their poor moral decisions he also scolds the leadership amongst the Seneca due to the poor land sale deals that they have done for the past several generations. It's become pretty clear that the candidate were purchase and the Morris Reserve and all of these other treaties and land purchases have pretty quickly shrunk the domain and the power of the era coin nations and he said quote whoever sells lands offense the great spirit and must expect a great punishment after death. And this just goes to show you a lot of people have said this in the past that the great spirit created all men but he gave this land to us and he gave the white man their land over there. And we're supposed to look seven generations in the past and look seven generations in the future. And where are we going to be in seven generations if we continue down this path? Some other things he spoke out against. Were things like lying being a hypocrite. A near do well. This is probably one of my favorite quotes. I posted this on twitter last week. Quote speak evil of no one. If you can say no good of a person then be silent. Let not your tongues. Betray you into evil. Let all be mindful of this for these are the words of our Creator. Let us strive to cultivate friendships with those who surround us? This is pleasing to the great spirit. And just say if you can't say anything nice don't say nothing at all. That's exactly what he said in our age of social media on facebook and twitter and all this other stuff if we just adhered to this one thing how much more stress free would we all be if we just didn't complain about other people and other things handsome lake wasn't all about what you should do. It wasn't all a bunch of don't do this don't do that. He also said that we should reinforce good. Virtues things that strengthened their society like being faithful in your marriage adopting children and taking care of orphans being caretakers of your elderly parents and encourage the parents to actually raise their children it with good morals. He said that we should give thanks to the great spirit daily. For every day that we get to see a new sunrise this message in different revelations that he claims to have become compiled into a whole new moral code and law and today. It's known as the code of Handsome Lake. In modern times they would call this the longhouse religion which is one of the first documented indigenously created religions in North America. One of handsome lake's huge fans was a guy named Thomas Jefferson. He actually writes a letter to handsome. Lake dated November third eighteen. To and this is what he says. Go on then brother in the great reformation you have undertaken in all your enterprises for the good of your people. You may count with confidence on the aid protection of the United States and on the sincerity and zeal with which I am myself animated in the furthering of this humane work. You are our brethren of the same land we wish you prosperity as brethren should do farewell so Jefferson really saw. Handsome Lake was trying to help his people and after meeting with him in Washington DC. He really encouraged him to keep it up another thing. That handsome lake mentioned in his sayings was that he really likes George Washington whereas he called him tell destroyer. Now that doesn't sound like a very endearing name to refer to somebody that you like in fact a lot of people when they read about handsome lake referring to George Washington is town destroyer a lot of early historians in people that weren't too well read thought that he was referring to the fact. That Washington had commanded the Sullivan Expedition. To come through caveat territory in Seneca land burning in seventeen seventy nine but in reality. This name does not come from there. This name is much older. In fact this name comes all the way from George. Washington's grandfather which received the aircraft named town destroyer and Washington was then bestowed his grandfather's name in the French and Indian war by the Eric Way. So he's just referring to something that happened years ago. This had nothing to do with the campaign of seventeen seventy nine..